I am planning my Christmas dinner. I happen to have a duck in the freezer and since this Christmas will be a small affair of my husband and my two little people, we are thinking of making one of our favorite dishes. Cassoulet. It brings with it cherished memories of Toulouse and drinking Armagnac and days when it was just my husband and me. It’s warm stewiness seems perfect for an intimate Christmas in our snowed in house in the woods.
G.Y. Dryansky wrote an excellent article titled “The Secret Life of Beans” for Conde Nast Traveller this month that explored this famed dish and it’s ingredients. The bean, being most important, has me interested. I have tried to make cassoulet before, to less than perfect results. I need to perfect my technique and ingredients. With some research I have found the the Tarbais bean seed at one of my favorite gardening sites L’atelier Vert.
The Tarbais is widely regarded as ‘the’ best bean for cassoulet and carries with it the coveted “Label Rouge”. Purcell Mountain Farms also sells them. So I will be planting these beauties for further practice next fall. In the mean time, I think I have found some suitable substitutes for this Christmas – so long as I get over and order right now… at Rancho Gordo. I think the Flageolet Bean or the Tepary Bean (white) will do nicely. Rancho Gordo has a great selection of beans…I may have to try out some other varieties.